Shoppers lose over £36m in online fraud

The closure of non-essential UK shops for a large chunk of the year has significantly contributed to the increase in online shopping, but at the same time citizens have so far lost over £36 million in online fraud, according to police data.

The threat of fraud is expected to increase come Black Friday and throughout December as people shop online even more for Christmas presents.

Interested in e-commerce security, Specops Software analysed data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau on 44 police forces/constabularies to determine which areas of the UK experienced the most internet shopping and online auction fraud cases between January and October 2020.

In total, Specops Software found there were 64,070 cases of internet shopping and online auction fraud recorded by police against individual citizens.

June (7,860 cases) was the worst month, narrowly followed by May (7,717 cases). March saw the least number of cases at 4,685. The accumulative financial loss that victims reportedly suffered was £36.26 million.

London's Metropolitan Police force had the highest amount of internet shopping and online auction fraud cases between January and October 2020, with 10,926 reports, the equivalent of 36 incidents per day in the capital.

From those cases, the collective financial loss victims suffered was £6.3 million - equivalent to £577 per case.

In second place was the West Midlands Police force with 3,104 incidences, with victims suffering an overall loss of £1.4 million.

Greater Manchester Police were in third place in terms of reported cases - 2,838 - but the financial loss was higher than in the West Midlands, totalling £1.5 million (an average personal loss of £529 for each case).

Other forces who received over 2,000 cases were Thames Valley Police (2,678), Police Scotland (2,418) and West Yorkshire Police (2,372).

For the data, internet shopping and online auction fraud is where a buyer does not receive their goods at all or a buyer receiving goods that are notably different from the original description, and where there is no prospect of a refund because of fake online seller identities or a refusal to refund by the seller, for instance, for returned goods.

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